Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the george-bush-doesn't-care-about-mouse-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While New York University's Langone Medical Center in lower Manhattan was the site of heroism as 260 patients were evacuated from flooded floors and a nearly complete loss of power, similar floods at NYU's nearby Smilow Research Building killed thousands of laboratory mice, including genetically altered specimens in-bred over many generations as research subjects for melanoma and other diseases. Other laboratory animals, cells, and living tissue used in medical research were also lost; because of the gestation period involved, some projects were likely set back a number of years. Past experience with storms such as Allison in Houston and Katrina in New Orleans has shown that keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding

Comments Filter:
  • I pity them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Poor mice. I love rodents. I really do. Must have been horrible for them to see and feel the influx of water without being able to escape or do anything.

    • by Froboz23 (690392) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:23PM (#41859433)
      The article failed to mention that the cages of Algernon and Jonathon were found vacant.
      • Future NY Times article: Genetically altered mice released by Sandy mate with indigenous mice to produce mutant offspring. An upper west side 67 year old women and her dog were attacked by a seemingly well organized group of outsized common mice. Witnesses claim that the mice, some the size of small pigs, would hesitate and direct their attention to what appeared to be their leader whenever they heard a series of repetitive high pitched squeaks. The woman was last seen bleeding profusely from the nose and
    • by Longjmp (632577)
      Well, some of them might have had some fun. [youtube.com]
    • You obviously never had a mouse infestation. Shitting on and in everything, everywhere, on you at night, etc.. Making your family sick. You kill 9 and the 10th gets away and a month later there are 10 again.

      fuck mice dude, they either survive or they dont. But its completely irresponsible of scientists to allow genetically modified animals into the wild because "it rained more than we were used to!".

    • by Oonagh (1821194)
      I thought that right off too, but then I remembered all the horrible and painful things they undergo in testing, and at least now they are out of it. :/
  • Time to stop watching The Walking Dead.
    • by djhertz (322457)

      This storm + That show = Need more shotgun shells

      At least I know how to brew my own beer.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:49PM (#41859057) Homepage

    Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement obviously, if only from the perspective of setting research back years as was pointed out, let alone the needless killing of thousands of animals. The basements should be kept for the adminstration staff, or at least the lawyers...

    • by hutsell (1228828)

      Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement obviously, if only from the perspective of setting research back years as was pointed out, let alone the needless killing of thousands of animals. The basements should be kept for the adminstration staff, or at least the lawyers...

      (Or the obligatory): Preferably the IT staff, since it will remind them of their Mom's basement, making most feel right at home. It's a win win for everyone.

    • by westlake (615356) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:53PM (#41860585)

      Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement obviously, if only from the perspective of setting research back years, let alone the needless killing of thousands of animals.

      Manhattan real estate is expensive.

      The hospital board can put income generating wards, clinics, operating rooms, cafeterias, restaurants, shops and other services on an upper floor or they can chose to house the animals there.

      Research centers often stash their animal labs underground. That makes it easier to store heavy animal equipment like cage washers, autoclaves, and giant tanks of fish, and the lack of windows helps technicians control the light-dark cycle. Labs in California use basement cages to keep them safe from earthquakes, and other building managers like to have the excrement and waste sequestered down below.

      Institutions like to keep their animals from public view. After all, even with the basements dry, these research centers are the site of massive rodent slaughter: The several thousand mice that drowned in Monday's flood represent just a tiny fractionâ"0.002 percent, perhapsâ"of all the mice and rats that die for research every year. It's ugly work, even when it's useful and important. Ken Kornberg, an architect who's worked on more than 400 biomedical research projects, points out that basements are more secure from activists and protesters.

      Sandy's Toll on Medical Research [slate.com]

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        Basements are also more secure, which makes it easier to protect the mouse colony from animal rights lunatics. Yes, this is a serious concern when installing animal colonies. Yes, it means animal rights activists bear some indirect responsibility for these deaths.

    • Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement

      Unless they put it full of eels...

  • including genetically altered specimens in-bred over many generations

    didn't know the royals were in NY during the storm.

    (I kid, I kid!)

  • The Basement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:55PM (#41859129)

    Animal research at my university was done in a nondescript building absent from the maps, with a front only about twenty feet wide (other buildings were wrapped around it). You needed a key-card to open the front door, and the building had a huge basement for cattle. The rationale for such a design is to make it difficult for animal rights extremists to break-in. I suspect other universities keep animals in the basement for the same reason.

  • by TigerPlish (174064) on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:55PM (#41859133)

    The thing we should've done years ago, Pinky: Move to Arizona. I hear it's dry there. *ptooie* Now shut up and keep rowing. We'll make it out of the parking lot yet.

    NARRF yes, right Brain!

  • by guttentag (313541) on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:55PM (#41859135) Journal

    ...keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway.

    The point of keeping them in the basement is to isolate them from outside influences that might affect your results. For instance, if you put them in the building lobby, they might get malenoma from the sun, or PETA might steal them and eat them ("People Eating Tasty Animals"). Basements are better.

    • by MaXintosh (159753)
      This. And and unfortunately, the otherside is that administrations want to keep the 'dirty' bits of science away from where students study or alumni pay over-priced sums of money for sporting tickets. Point in case is when some animal facilities were told they had to move in Salt Lake City because they were going to be too close to the Olympic venues. They, too, got shoved in various basements.
    • by dunng808 (448849)

      Cue up "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and we will all join in on the refrain.

    • The point of keeping them in the basement is to isolate them from outside influences that might affect your results.

      I thought the entire point of keeping the mices in the basements was because we could never keep the undergrads consistently in those black-mold infested basements in the first place, those undergrads would always make their way back up the stairs, or through the elevators, sneaking themselves into the faculty lounges/hall ways by entering behind someone with a card key, or simply begging someone to let them in on some bogus excuse.

      So they ended up sleeping on our couches, gnawing at our food within our kit

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:01PM (#41859189)

    What the news also isn't reporting, is that because of this flooding, there is all sorts of hazardous medical waste floating in the water underneath/in NYU medical center.

    I would expect this to become a problem; there are millions of gallons of water which likely cannot simply be pumped out into drainage systems, and may have to be treated first, or removed for treatment at a later time.

    The failure of NYU's backup systems may be one of the biggest localized issues to come out of this disaster. Time will tell,

  • Move the lawyers to the basement and move the lab rats to the offices the lawyers vacated. Anyone else with nearby offices will porobably consider having the lab rats instead of the lawyers as neighbors to be an improvement. If there's flooding again, we lose a few lawyers, the world is an even better place and the rats survive.

    On the other hand, we need to make sure a few lawyers survive. They do serve a purpose since, after all, there are some things that even a rat won't do.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • You know it's just a matter of time.

  • Keep an eye out for rodents stealing extension cords.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:14PM (#41859333)
    So, mutant diseased rats in NYC sewer... what's new?
  • Really, are we talking scientific mouse deaths on slashdot?
    • When I read the summary (I didn't read TFA, ha!) i thought by "lost" they meant lost, not dead. Meaning, genetically modified mice are now free to breed with the normal mice in the wild. What would be the consequences of that, I have no idea. It depends how modified were the mice. Will they bring us new diseases? Make mice stronger, leading to overbreeding? I can't see anything good coming out of that anyway.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Yes? Why not? The loss of those mice sets back some research half a decade. That might mean 5 years when we could have saved people from cancer, which means a lot more deaths than Sandy caused directly. Maybe. Or maybe not. It's still relevant.

    • Zombie science mouses with genetic defects are going to infect the NY cats and dogs, and then the fun starts.
  • Obviously, the mice [wikia.com] simply took refuge back in their own dimension for safety - duh.
    Frankie and Benjy [wikipedia.org] asked me to tell you, "Thanks for all the cheese."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is freaking scarey - did any escape? Has nobody watched 'Pinky and the Brain' ?

  • Thousands of cats ran away during Hurricane Sandy

  • What is hit once will be hit again. Locate accordingly, and have an evac plan if you don't have the option of an intelligently chosen facility location.

    Nature doesn't care what you want. It does what it will.

  • I'm against animal testing of any kind and sometimes they are treated cold heartedly in the name of science. This may have been a more merciful end for them.
  • by PPH (736903) on Friday November 02, 2012 @11:18PM (#41862013)

    They just get nervous and give the wrong answers.

  • you can always get more empty suits to take bonuses and spiffs. you can't get more (power, boilers, lab rats, document storage, corners full of creepy crap) once the basement floods and is filled with the raw sewage of 20 million people in a flood. so fill the basements with suits, and put the infrastructure on floors 3-6.

  • What the news also isn't reporting, is that because of this flooding, there is all sorts of hazardous medical waste floating in the water underneath/in NYU medical center. I would expect this to become a problem; there are millions of gallons of water which likely cannot simply be pumped out into drainage systems, and may have to be treated first, or removed for treatment at a later time. Is it? [uncleshammy.com] Or not? [squidoo.com]

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

Working...